Why we should keep History for the Junior Cert and beyond

Shauna gives her reasons why learning about History is important and why it should be kept as a compulsory subject

Written by Shauna Sexton


So in the last few years there has been talks and thoughts about removing History as a compulsory subject. In my opinion, I think history should stay on the curriculum for the following reasons.

Learning from the past

How will we know how the world and society came to be what it is today? The world wouldn't be the same if certain events didn't happen. I have heard lots of people’s opinions and most of them are “It’s in the past, leave it there” or my favourite “you can’t change it.” While, that may be true, we can change the future. How would we know we're not going to make the same mistakes others have made if we’re not taught about it.

I’ve finished my Junior Cert year and don't have to worry about it as I am doing History as a leaving cert subject. But I do have two sisters who will be affected because if they don't choose History they will not have a clue how we got to where we are today.

Cultural amnesia

Another reason I think it’s important to keep history as a mandatory subject is that if we remove it we are creating a “cultural amnesia”. We will forget or may not understand our  culture, traditions, and history. History helps us understand the progress and changes (both good and bad) in society. What would machinery be like without the Industrial Revolution? What would art and architecture be like without the Renaissance? Learning about these can show us how humans have evolved and changed throughout time. Imagine what life would be like if society did not change. There would probably be no internet, no machinery, no appreciation for art or music etc. All of these advances are important to learn about and to appreciate how we got to where we are today.  

History helps you develop useful skills

You develop useful skills while studying History such as critical reasoning and analytical skills when looking at the causes and outcomes of past events. It can also help with developing your capacity for solving problems as you may be thinking about how someone could have done something differently in the past. You also learn to think for yourself because you need to do detailed research for your exams.

In the past I had thought that we should be taught something more useful than World War One and Two, but that was at the start of this year and since then my perspective has changed.

I think it’s important to keep History as a compulsory subject. I think we should at least do it for the Junior Cert cycle. Some people may then decide to drop it for the Leaving Cert but I think that would be a shame as you’d miss the opportunity to explore and learn about our shared past.

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